Students make their mark in Campus Movie Fest

By Rene Thomas Rodriguez, COMMENTARY
On February 26, 2014

Three director chairs stood on stage in the Oval Theater like glowing perched birds. The chairs were just some of the awards given out to some of the filmmakers who submitted films in this year’s Campus Movie Fest.

CMF, the world’s largest student film festival started by four Emory University students, provides an outlet for students who use the movie camera as an apparatus to ignite bottled up creativity. More than 70 universities across the country participate in the annual event, in which equipment, including Mac laptops, Panasonic camcorders and Adobe editing software, was provided for students willing to indulge in their cinematic prowess.

Seventy seven student teams participated at this year’s festival, and various faculty, staff and members of the student body screened close to 80 films last week before 16 were chosen for Tuesday’s screening.

The diversity of tones and themes ranged from pill-popping protagonists pondering sexual identity like in the film “In the Loop,” to drag queens contemplating the moral complexities of impregnating his girlfriend in the film “Positive.”

This year’s festival had films that were aesthetically pleasing and had the appearance of big budget films, like this year’s Best Picture Winner, “Disorder,” directed by Ammar Mheir.

The film looked like an outtake from a Ridley Scott film, but lacked a coherent punch that makes narrative filmmaking in five minutes an arduous task for student filmmakers. Mheir’s film has a chance to be shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, exposure any inspiring auteur will be grateful for.

There were a plethora of dramas, which made the comedies refreshing anomalies among the portentous assembly line of films showed.

Wey Lin, a senior majoring in mass communications, said she hoped for more of a variety and about the quality and tone of the films.

“The choices were alright. I was hoping to see more comedy,” Lin said. “I think comedy is a lot harder than drama. People need to laugh.”

One nominated comedy, “Hitch-Hike,” had the tone of an early Harold Ramis- Bill Murray comedy that made the film one of the highlights of the festival.

Aly San Juan, one of the filmmakers for the film said she was excited just to do something creative with her friends.

“Limitations always tend to emerge during production, and this experience was no different,” San Juan said. “We had to use gum to hold a light fixture.”

Awards were giving out at the end of night that range from “Best Actor” to “Best Soundtrack.” Students walked to the stage, where they thanked the audience and those who assisted in making their films.

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